Washington:When it comes to memory formation, expectation may be essential, according to a recent study.
Penn State psychologists tested 60 participants and noted that the theory that links memory encoding to expectations of future relevance may better explain how human memory works.
Modern psychology posits two major theories to explain the mechanisms of how memories are formed. The first is object-based encoding, storing all information about an object in working memory. The second is feature-based encoding, selectively remembering aspects of an object.
For example, if you watch a group of people playing basketball, under object-based encoding theory, the brain remembers all aspects of the ball. In feature-based encoding, the brain remembers that it saw a ball, but may have no recollection of the color if the color of the ball is an unnecessary feature according to the task at hand.
The proposed theory, expectancy-based binding, suggests that subjects can remember features presented in a visual scene or movie without necessarily remembering which object went with which feature when it is not necessary to do so.
Researcher Brad Wyble said that the key discovery was that attending an object for an extended period of time does not ensure that all of the features of that object will be correctly associated with it in memory.
Wyble added that attention is not enough to ensure accurate memory. One needs some kind of expectation that attributing certain features to the object is important.
To ensure the results were robust, their entire experiment was repeated a second time with a new group of participants.
The study appears in the journal Cognition. (ANI)